Pitcher Brandon McCarthy visits A's teammates

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By JANIE McCAULEY, Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy stopped by the clubhouse to visit his teammates Friday, just more than a week after getting hit in the head by a line drive.

He was a jokester as usual and worked on a crossword puzzle.

"I told him he should fill in a crossword and put a bunch of letters backward," reliever Jerry Blevins said. "He said, 'I'll fill all the slots in with smiley faces.' It was really fun. He's still the same old guy."

"Everybody was really excited to see him and I think he was very excited to see us, too. There's just nothing that compares to the clubhouse atmosphere and just having him back and being around the guys, it's hard to beat that," he said.

McCarthy underwent two hours of surgery late on Sept. 5 after he was hit in the right side of the head earlier in the day by a liner from the Los Angeles Angels' Erick Aybar. The right-hander and Oakland's opening day starter was released from the hospital Tuesday.

"Jeanie (my wife) and I have been worried since Brandon was hit," owner Lew Wolff said in an e-mail. "To see him looking so great in the clubhouse tonight and having him tell me his 'major' problem was boredom was wonderful to hear."

The 29-year-old McCarthy sustained an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture on the play. The pitcher wasn't available to the media Friday.

Outfielder Jonny Gomes had an A's batting helmet signed by all of McCarthy's teammates with "heads up" written on the bill for the pitcher.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, McCarthy said he hopes to return to the mound. Blevins said everyone shook McCarthy's hand and gave him a hug after players made their way inside following batting practice before the series opener with the Baltimore Orioles.

"There was an overall cheer, I would assume, from all of us," Blevins said. "Everybody just kind of waited their turn and people got to talk to him."

McCarthy will remain in the Bay Area for three weeks. He is 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA this year in his sixth big league season and second with the A's. He went 9-9 with a 3.32 ERA last season.

"He looks normal, he's just got a buzzed head and a cool scar," Blevins said. "He looks a lot tougher than he did."

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